MANILA, Philippines — No order can direct the police to conduct mandatory drug tests on candidates of the 2022 elections, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said in a press briefing on Monday.
The PNP will instead defer to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for guidelines on the drug testing of candidates.
Carlos made the statement after daring all presidential candidates on Saturday to submit themselves to drug testing.
“The most that we can do is to support the suggestion for political aspirants to submit themselves to a voluntary drug test to prove to their followers and supporters that they are clean,” Carlos said.
He then said that the PNP will instead take the cue from Comelec on how to go about the drug testing.
“We will be ready to facilitate, and we can use our PNP Forensic Group, but let us cross the bridge when we get there,” Carlos said.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, a person found to be positive for using illegal drugs faces a minimum penalty, on the first offense, of six months rehabilitation in a government center.
This discussion on drug testing escalated after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that a presidential aspirant had been using cocaine.
Duterte hinted that the aspirant, whom he did not identify, belonged to a well-known and rich clan, whose family name means “strong” and was known for its patriarch.
Almost all notable presidential aspirants, however, have expressed willingness to take a drug test.
Meanwhile, the Comelec has already said that substance abuse is not included among the grounds for the disqualification of an aspirant for public office.
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